PJI Center For Public Policy Steps Up to the Plate For Women’s Sports
SALEM, Ore. – The Pacific Justice Institute-Center for Public Policy (PJI) is taking a stand in multiple states to help ensure fairness for girls there who compete in interscholastic sports.
PJI staff attorney Ray Hacke has been invited to testify before the legislatures of Missouri and Montana on bills aimed at preventing men who identify as women from competing as women in women’s sports, thereby reducing women to runners-up, benchwarmers, and spectators in their own sports. Montana’s bill would prohibit biological males from competing as “girls” in interscholastic sports; Missouri’s would let the state’s voters decide the issue in 2022.
Hacke will testify before the Missouri House of Representatives’ Committee on Emerging Issues this coming Monday, March 1. The date of the hearing on Montana’s bill is yet to be determined.
A constitutional law attorney who has covered women’s sports as a journalist and coached his daughter in softball and basketball, Hacke is the author of an article titled “Girls Will Be Boys, and Boys Will Be Girls”: The Emergence of the Transgender Athlete and a Defensive Game Plan For High Schools That Want to Keep Their Playing Fields Level – For Athletes of Both Genders. Published in multiple legal journals, Hacke’s article explains how the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and Title IX, the federal law aimed at providing equal educational opportunities for women and girls, all but mandate that schools maintain separate teams for boys and girls to ensure that girls get a full and fair opportunity to compete.
“The Equal Protection Clause does not mandate that state governments treat things which are different in fact as though they are legally the same,” Hacke said. “A boy who says he’s a girl is quite different from an actual girl. And multiple courts have held that because girls are typically at a physiological disadvantage when competing against boys, letting boys play on girls’ teams would relegate girls to being benchwarmers or spectators in their own sports.”
In recent months, legislators in 19 states have introduced bills seeking to ensure that women and girls competing in interscholastic athletics do not have to compete against biological males who identify as “transgender.” The bills are a response not only to the success several biologically male athletes have had competing against females in high school and college sports, but to Congress’ controversial proposed Equality Act, which would undermine the very thing it claims to champion by reducing opportunities for biological women to compete.
“Bills like those in Missouri and Montana have nothing to do with prejudice toward transgender people,” PJI President Brad Dacus said. “They have to do with fundamental fairness – and, in many cases, safety – in girls’ sports. While transgender people deserve compassion and understanding, that doesn’t mean we should let them compete as whatever gender they choose – especially when actual girls would be disadvantaged.”